Speaking English Like An Arab

Over centuries, dozens of Arabic words have entered the English language, through science, philosophy, mathematics, food, fabrics, trade and travel.

Most were introduced by inland and maritime trade along the Silk Route, while others came through the Islamic conquests of southern Europe. Not all of these words are of Arabic origin – some came from India, Persia and ancient Greece – but Arab merchants helped export them to the West.

Finally, the discovery of medieval Islamic scientists and astronomers during the Renaissance brought new words and concepts to Europe.  I have picked the top 15 most surprising words with Arabic origins.

Admiral: amir أمير

The word for this high-ranking naval commander evolved from amir, the Arabic word for a prince or ruler. The word was first documented on the island of Sicily in the 11th century, where the Arabs had ruled for 300 years.

Alchemy: al kimiya الكيمياء

The ancient branch of philosophy known as alchemy involved the study of substances and materials. Medieval alchemists believed that some liquids could be turned to gold, or a potion that would make its drinker immortal. The original Arabic word stems from the Greek term “khemeia, though some scholars also trace its roots back to ancient Egypt.

Cotton: qutun قطن

Though cotton was known to the ancient Romans, the word and the fabric were imported by Arab merchants to Europe in the late Middle Ages.

Elixir: al-iksir الإكسير

Today, an elixir is a liquid remedy with healing powers. In Arabic, it originally referred to a dry powder for treating wounds. It was later adopted by alchemists who referred to an elixir as the elusive mineral powder that would turn metals into gold.

Jumper: jubba جبّة

The Arabic word for overcoat originally entered European languages as “juppa“, valuable silk clothing, in southern Italy in the 11th century.

Macrame: miqrama مقرمة

This type of knotted textile used in craft and high fashion originates from the hand-loomed fabrics of Arabic weavers. In Arabic, miqrama refers to an embroidered tapestry or bedspread.

Mohair: al-mokhayyar المخيّر

In Arabic, al-mokhayyar was a high-quality cloth made of fine goat hair. Various forms of it were imported to the West for centuries, the most famous being the wool made from Angora goats of Turkey.

Monsoon: mawsim موسم

Early Arab sea merchants on the Indian Ocean rim used the word “mawsim” or “seasons” to refer to the seasonal sailing winds. Later, the word was adopted by Portuguese, Dutch and English sailors as they navigated extreme weather conditions off the coasts of India, South-East Asia and China.

Muslin: musuliyin موصلي

Muslin, a cotton-based fabric, is said to have derived its name from the traders of the city of Mosul, or the musuliyin, who imported it from South Asia to Europe.

Nadir: nazir نظير

In English, a nadir refers to the worst moment, or the point at which something is of the least value. But in Arabic, the word means a counterpart, and was used in medieval Islamic astronomy to refer to the diametrically opposing points of a celestial sphere.

Orange: naranj نارنج

Though both the fruit and the word came from India, Arabs introduced oranges to the Mediterranean region. For many southern European countries today, they are considered a staple fruit.

Serendipity: serendib سرنديب

The ancient fairy tale place of Serendib, which appears in One Thousand and One Nights and other ancient oral traditions, was also the old Arabic name for the island of Sri Lanka. The English word serendipity, meaning a fortunate discovery, was coined by the English author Horace Walpole in 1754.

Safari: safar سفر

The English adopted the Swahili word for journey – safari – in the 19th century for their hunting expeditions in East Africa. Though a safari today involves an organized trip to spot wild animals, its origins are from the Arabic “safar”, or journey, a reminder of the crucial presence of Arab sea merchants on the East African coast.

Sugar: sukkar سكّر

Another word to have travelled the Silk Road is sugar, which was originally produced in India. By the sixth century, sugar cane cultivation reached Persia, and was brought into the Mediterranean by the Arabs, who produced it extensively.

Tariff: ta’riff تعريف

A tariff in Medieval Arabic means a notification. It was introduced to western languages around the 14th century through commerce on the Mediterranean Sea, where it referred to the bill of lading on a merchant ship, or the statement of products and prices for sale.

’22 A To Z Challenge – A

A word for our times – fake news – faux news – Fox News.  Also see: Donald Trump.

AGNOTOLOGY

Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. The neologism was coined in 1995, by Robert N. Proctor, a Stanford University professor specializing in the history of science and technology. Its name derives from the Neoclassical Greek word ἄγνωσις, agnōsis, “not knowing”, and -λογία, -logia.  A basic characteristic of the conservative movement, since conservative beliefs regarding race, class, and foreign policy are all shown to be failures.

“Dude, all the scientists who are believe in (sic) global warming are part of a universal conspiracy to gain research dollars by destroying American industry.”

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

Isaac Asimov, 1980

Within the sociology of knowledge, agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of deliberate, culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, typically to sell a product or win favor, particularly through the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.  More generally, the term also highlights the condition where more knowledge of a subject leaves one more uncertain than before.

It is a disappointing fact, that there are segments of the American public who consider intelligence and intellectualism, as suspect.  😯

And so, I’m off to another great start.  I could have reserved the letter A in this year’s challenge for the word Asshole, but we’re already overstocked.  😉

Flash Fiction #272

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

NARROW-GAUGE ONE-TRACK-MIND

The American Military had to assign rocket scientist, Werner von Braun a driver, when he was late for a meeting – which he called!

Concerned officials eventually located him at a traffic light, with his foot on the car’s brake.  He had had an idea, and his mind had taken him somewhere other than his meeting.  The light was green just as they arrived, and he was oblivious to the traffic that was flowing past him in all directions.

My brain, with its three squirrels running on two wheels, envies him his ability to concentrate.  I occasionally need a minder also.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Conspiracy Constipation

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Would you blindly take a pill or vaccine without knowing precisely what was in it, just because a doctor or “Professional Health Practitioner” told you to?

YES!
You see this??  Education teaches you this in chemistry and biology.  Knowing this, why the fuck would you think that you know more than someone who spent years studying and learning, and actually knows what these words mean.

IT CONTAINS MORE THAN 4,000 CHEMICALS, AND HAS SPREAD INTO EVERY HUMAN BODY ON EARTH

Among its components are formaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, ketone bodies, dihydrogen monoxide, tryptophan, urea, dehydroepiandrosterone, Hexosephosphate P, and at least 20 kinds of acids.

Nearly every chemical constituent will, in certain concentrations, kill children and adults.

Chemical compounds within it are used in yoga mats, explosives, warfare, and industrial applications.

It is now so pervasive, that every human baby is born with high concentrations of it in his or her tiny body.

Healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies, and governments conspire to spend Billions of dollars each year, to maintain or increase its presence in ordinary citizens.

IT’S YOUR OWN BLOOD – DUMMY!

Don’t be alarmed by words you don’t understand, or people who want to scare you on Facebook, because they’re bored or stupid, or both.  Read!  Understand!  Reduce the stupid!

Science! It reduces the stupid.

So, get your head out of your a…. Get the shot – both shots!  Wear the damned mask to protect you and everyone else.  It’s not wearing one that makes you look stupid – and selfish, and inconsiderate.  Soon we’ll be able to go back to Shoney’s for Early Bird Dinner.  Don’t worry – Be happy.  Trust the experts.  They really do know more than your cousin Shelly on Twitter.  😳

I Can Take No Credit

Thoughts on Science And Religion – Maybe Mix In A Little
Has any religious doctrine ever supplanted a scientific discovery?

I’m still a great proponent of the idea that, if you throw enough horseshit at the barn, sooner or later, some of it will stick – but it’s still horseshit. There have been thousands – tens – hundreds – of thousands of weird-ass religious ideas, proposals and theories advanced. That one of them finally proved (somewhat) correct is not revelation, but inevitable coincidence.
Matt Dillahunty says that the time to believe something, is when there is evidence, and evidence is provided by science. They may have been right, but they were right for the wrong reasons. This seems much like Christians observing something, and then going back through the Bible to find some vague passage that proves a prophesy.

Archon, you wrote — ” That one of them finally proved (somewhat) correct …” I have to ask — which one?

This post of Jim’s, about the Hindu Upanishads Science and Religion—Maybe Mix in a Little? – TheCommonAtheist (wordpress.com)  I was being my usual snarky, sarcastic self.  In no way did I mean to imply that their beliefs and claims held any validity.  One particular group of Neolithic Lotus-Eaters, out of myriads of others, felt that reality depends on randomness, and quantum-type fluctuations.  Modern day physics is finding that the existence of the universe may depend on randomness and quantum fluctuations.  There is no way to prove that one led to the other.

It’s like the stopped clock, that’s right twice a day.  Actually, it’s more like someone fired a shotgun at a wall, leaving fifteen or twenty buckshot holes in it.  Five years later, someone comes along, paints a target around one of them, and declares, ‘See!  They got a bull’s-eye!’

It is highly likely that Newtonian physics was supplanted by the Upanishads—the ideas from Hindu philosophy called quantum mechanics.  What’s different about the Upanishad -vs.- say, Christianity, is the Upanishad can be made into math by the most skilled of all scientific minds. It can be tested, and it can be fit into what we know about the nature of duality, consciousness, mind, and matter.

My nit-picky, pedantic nature insists that ‘supplanted’ means took the place of (another), as through force, scheming, strategy, or the like.  It is, therefore, modern, peer-reviewed, fact-driven, science-proven Physics, which has supplanted the Hindu Vedas.  They make no mention of “Quantum Mechanics.”  It is only now that some people are aware of it, that they want to take modern science, and retrofit it into a religion.  No smoke some ganja and pull it out of your ass Woo can replace it, or even claim to help develop it.

Through its language of mathematics, it is the science, not the religion, which can be investigated and proved.  It can ‘fit into’ the rest, in the same way that a rotten tomato, a dozen doughnuts, a dead cat, or a handgun, can individually be forced to ‘fit into’ any given paper bag.

Science at this level is somewhat uncertain, but I still prefer my dozen Quantum revelation eggs neatly and safely packaged.  The truth is much more likely to be revealed by Stephen Hawking and CERN, than by Shiva and Ganesh.

Pissing One-liners Away

Did you hear my new joke about pee?….
….Thank God no-one leaked it

I wanted to tell a joke about Amazon….
….But I’d probably fuck up the delivery

I just found out that I have Multiple Personality Disorder….
….I gotta tell the other guys

Why do women hate sexist jokes?….
….Because they only get 77% of them.

Freud was such an incesting man….
….Interesting!  I meant Interesting.

There is no lifeguard….
….In the gene pool

Did you know that protons have mass?….
….I didn’t even know they were Catholic.

I called a discount exterminator….
….A guy came by with a rolled-up newspaper.

When my wife was in labor I told her jokes to ease the pain….
….She wasn’t amused, it must have been the delivery.

I would love to tell a chemistry joke….
….But all the good ones Argon.

I have one Islam joke….
….But I’m afraid I also only have one head.

Sometimes I wrestle with my Demons….
….Sometimes we just snuggle

Honk!!….
….If you like noise.

Marriage is grand….
….Divorce is a hundred grand

I had a life….
….But my job ate it.

What do you call a cow with two legs?….
….Lean beef

You tell an actor to ‘break a leg’….
….because every show has a cast.

What do you call birds of a feather, who stick together?….
….Vel-crows

I just wrote a book on reverse psychology….
….Do not read it!

If Americans switched from pounds to kilos overnight….
….there would be mass confusion.

Don’t tell a ‘dad joke’ if you are not a father….
….It’s a faux pa

I have an addiction to cheddar cheese….
….But it’s only mild

I’ve just written a song about tortillas….
….Actually, it’s more of a rap.

My wife told me that sex is better on vacation….
….Not the best postcard I’ve received.

Nouns piss grumpy old Archon off….
….You know, people, places, and things.

I dressed my dog up as a cat for Halloween….
….Now he won’t come when I call him.

An unemployed jester….
….is nobody’s fool.

No matter how hard I try, I always seem to be going round in circles….
….Having a broken arm while in a wheelchair isn’t ideal.

I won’t go near trees….
….There’s something shady about them.

You have to hand it to short people….
….Because they can’t reach it.

The Shortcut To Blame

If you haven’t struck pay-dirt in 50 words, stop boring.  Confounded confusion!!  Many Christian Apologist debaters and essayists seem to think that a barrage of verbiage will eventually yield a nugget of truth.  This guy went wrong in a Hell of a hurry.

I get to hear “Why would God allow so much suffering?” to which the answer is “Why do you?” because we really are supposed to be instruments of God, suffering is our call to action. We are supposed to take care of each other. Failing to do so is not God’s inaction, it is ours.

Damn! I didn’t realize that child cancer was My Fault, because I haven’t rushed out and found a cure. I was busy, helping out down at the food bank. 😳

Thank you. I considered editing this piece to include your sanctimonious, self righteous bullshit as an example of someone trying to highlight the “I” in “Team.” Your self centered value signalling (sic) pretty much removes the illusion of you being a charitable person.

You did a good thing, then complained that your effort did not cure all the world’s problems. It must make you feel like a failure among Gods.

And then out came all that Christian love and acceptance.  😯  Trust a Bible-thumper to take things the wrong way, whether innocently or cynically, whenever their claims are questioned,.  I’ll admit that I was a little snarky when I posted the comment that showed that there’s no He on his team: that after the writer has done all his tithing, and volunteering at the soup kitchen or homeless shelter, it’s still up to his imaginary God to handle things like tornadoes and hurricanes and floods and earthquakes and landslides and volcanoes….and cancer.

Science and medicine are working as hard as they can to find cures for diseases (like COVID19), that his God hurls at us.  After these researchers work their asses off, sometimes for years to find a cure, guys like this will yell, “Thank God! He has answered our prayers!” God helps them that help themselves. These Apologists help themselves – or, at least their pet Deity – to all the credit, but none of the blame. 😯

Here’s a clear example of my earlier assertion, which many of these Good Christians grudgingly admit, that I/Atheists perform ‘good and moral’ actions, but claim that we do so for ‘the wrong reasons,’ according to them.

Studies seem to indicate that, overall, Christians are happier than Atheists.  I don’t believe that these Apologists are actually happier, just more smugly self-satisfied.  😛

Piss-offily

If you are looking for a good chuckle, here are a few of the funniest quotes ever.

Crossing the road

“I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” —Stephen Hawking, physicist

Insurance gods

“The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist.

Open-minded

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” —Richard Dawkins, scientist

Narrow-minded

“He was so narrow-minded, he could see through a keyhole with both eyes.” —Molly Ivins, author

Family debate

“I’ve come to learn that the best time to debate family members is when they have food in their mouths.” —Kenneth Cole, fashion designer

Marriage from heaven

“They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.” —Clint Eastwood

Get married

“My advice to you is get married: If you find a good wife you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.” —Socrates

Slow computer test

“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” —Will Ferrell

Someone you love

“Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth, and you should save it for someone you love.” —Butch Hancock, country musician

Marriage gift

“Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.” —Rod Stewart, rock star

Everything has a consequence

“All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.” —Alexander Woollcott, actor

Bacon is everything

“When you have bacon in your mouth, it doesn’t matter who’s president.” —Louis CK

Spending foolishly

“Part of [the $10 million] went for gambling, horses, and women. The rest I spent foolishly.” —George Raft, film star

No character

“I was going to sue for defamation of character, but then I realized I have no character.” —Charles Barkley, TV basketball analyst

A Scrabble For One-Liners

I accidentally swallowed a bunch of Scrabble tiles….
….My next trip to the bathroom could spell disaster.

This is the first time I don’t go to Fiji due to the pandemic….
….I normally don’t go because I’m broke as fuck.

My friend drowned himself in a vat of varnish….
….He had a horrible end…. but a nice finish.

If we were on a sinking ship, and there was only one life-vest….
….I would miss you a lot.

You should not call someone a cannibal….
….Refer to them as Humanitarians.

I can’t believe I forgot to go to the gym today….
….That makes seven years in a row.

I told my wife that I have the body of a Greek god….
….She explained that Buddha is not Greek.

I donated my body to Science….
….Science donated my body to Goodwill

Is it irony when you pray to God to remove “your family’s problem”….
….And the next day, you’re in Heaven?

We wanted to be adults, so badly….
….Just f**king look at us now.

Constipated people are not trustworthy….
….They are full of shit.

I was invited to a party, and told to dress to kill….
….Apparently a turban, a beard and a backpack weren’t what they meant.

To err is human….
….To forgive is against company policy.

Why doesn’t room 404 exist?….
….There’s no room for error.

What is a fear of chainsaws called?….
….Common sense

I saw an ad in the paper, “Yacht for sale.”….
….As if people don’t know what a yacht is for.

It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, fat, thin, young, old, at the end of the day….
….It’s night.

One useless man is a shame….
….Two is a law firm.

I moved into an igloo, and my friends threw me a house-warming party….
….Now I’m homeless.

My mother told me I could be anyone I wanted….
….Turns out identity theft is illegal.

I needed to set a new password….
….I tried putting in ‘penis,’ but it told me it was too short.

I asked my wife what she was ‘burning for dinner.’….
….Turns out it was all my personal belongings.

My wife claims that I’m cheap….
….But I’m not buying it

 

’20 A To Z Challenge – T

Amplified and heterodyned gravitonic waves from a giant Black Hole, in a far-off galaxy, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/kids/science/oldest-quasar-and-supermassive-black-hole-discovered-in-the-distant-universe/ar-BB1cLUOj?li=AAggFp5  produced an inversion in space-time which resulted in a reversal of publishing my T and U blogposts.  (Definitely not my confusion and lousy memory.)  Here’s what you missed, two weeks ago.

Little Miss Muffet, sat on her

TUFFET

a low stool; footstool.
Eating her curds and whey.  Along came a spider, who sat down beside her and said, “What’s in the bowl, bitch?”

She tossed her tousled tresses, and said, “It’s getting too damned crowded in here!  I’m going outside for some fresh air.  She trekked her pert little tush outside, and plunked it down on a

TUSSOCK

a tuft or clump of growing grass or the like.

She said, “And it ain’t curds and whey!  Who the Hell eats curds and whey, anymore??  Effete vegans, and twee guys with man-buns??!  (Speaking of which – Has anyone seen that horrible Uber Eats commercial, with the male(?) gymnast??  I don’t have to ask, but I do try to tell him, to turn down the GAY a notch.)  This, and a beer, is the “Breakfast of Champions.”  This, with a beer poured over it, is the breakfast of champions.  This is my namesake cereal, the one that Quaker named after me, ‘cause I’m so cute and well-rounded – Muffets.”

So, when I say that I ate a muffet, it’s not like Little Hot Welding Rod Little Red Riding Hood.  She was on her way to Granny’s, through the deep, dark forest, when a big, bad wolf jumped out and said, “I’m going to eat you.”  Red replied, “Eat, eat, eat!  Doesn’t anybody screw anymore?”

So, don’t screw around.  Stop back in a couple of days.  If I’ve finished my cereal, there’s a good chance that I might have something almost significant to say.   🙄